CHICAGO, IL -Â Collaboraction, the Chicago theater community’s “Ambassadors of Hope,” continues to spread its message of peace, art, love, hope and fun throughout Chicago with Crime Scene: Breathe Life, the company’s third annual, free Chicago Park District Night Out in the Parks summer tour, playing every Thursday and Friday night in August at four different Chicago Park District venues:
Hamilton Park in Englewood, 513 W. 72nd St.
Thursday and Friday, August 6 and 7, 7 pm.
New location! Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave.
Thursday and Friday, August 13 and 14, 7 p.m.
Austin Town Hall, 5610 W. Lake St.
Thursday and Friday, August 20 and 21, 7 p.m.
Loyola Park in Rogers Park, 1230 W. Greenleaf Ave.
Thursday and Friday, August 27 and 28, 7 p.m.
Crime Scene: Breathe Life is Collaboraction’s new traveling production based on its widely acclaimed 2015 mainstage production Crime Scene: The Next Chapter. In his three-star review, Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune called Next Chapter “a potent and highly useful couple of hours spent with fellow concerned residents in an equalizing setting” that lends “the sense that things really can be changed, if only lines of communication are forced open.”
The new, one hour Crime Scene: Breathe Life viscerally re-examines Chicago’s history of violent crime, while sharing five intimate portraits of real Chicagoans who have used their first-hand experiences with violence to become peacemakers and be a positive impact in the lives of others.
Ultimately, Crime Scene: Breathe Life asks Chicago residents “what do you see?” when it comes to the city’s current crime epidemic, and challenges Chicagoans to discover new ways to work together to create lasting change.
Friday night shows will be preceded by a special youth afternoon workshop called Crime Scene: The Next Generation. Young residents in the community are encouraged to come learn how to make devised theatre, and then they will be integrated into the on-stage performance that evening.
Also on Fridays, starting at 5 p.m., Collaboraction will present their signature Dome of Dance battle-dance tournament with DJ Shon Roka and a FREE Community Meal sponsored by Connie’s Pizza – a full spread – for 250 people.
Every performances is followed by a Town Hall discussion featuring a panel of Chicago Peace Movement leaders from groups such as Formers Anonymous, Example Setters, Y-Men, R.A.G.E. and I Grow Chicago.
Crime Scene: Breathe Life is Collaboraction’s latest update on the company’s 2013 break-out hit show Crimes Scene: A Chicago Anthology, which ignited the company’s ongoing series that links immersive, hyper-local live theater crowd-sourced with community activists and organizations to combat violence in Chicago. Five true stories of real Chicagoans who were victims of crime but who have since become agents of positive change include:
Sir Taylor, an original member of the Jesse White Tumblers who found his way out of Cabrini Green, became a member of the US Gymnastics Team, performed in Broadway’s The Lion King, and today leads Example Setters Youth Poetry. In addition to inspiring one of its stories, Taylor also performs in the show.
Mike and Karen Trout, who moved into a home without heat in Lawndale in 1992 and founded Y-Men, an organization that has been preparing young men in North Lawndale for mature, responsible leadership, academic excellence and outstanding service to others since 1996.
Mariame Kaba, founder and director of Project NIA, a grass-roots organization that promotes restorative and transformative justice with a vision to end youth incarceration.
Luis Crespo, a cast member in the original Crime Scene whose father founded the Villalobos, a Puerto Rican street gang in Pilsen in 1969. Crespo used theater as a way to get and keep him out of trouble, and today he directs Collaboraction’s Teen Ensemble with After School Matters.
Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old King College Prep high schooler who was lost to tragic gun violence in 2013, and her parents, Cleo and Nathaniel Pendleton, who have leveraged the national spotlight to keep Hadiya’s spirit alive and inspire millions across the country.
This is the third summer that Collaboraction has been tapped to share its Crime Scene message of hope and change with city residents via the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks program. Previous versions were embedded in targeted neighborhoods including Englewood, Austin, Bronzeville and Rogers Park.
The success of Collaboraction’s Crime Scene summer tours also spawned the company’s monthly series of Let Hope Rise peace variety shows staged earlier this year at Chicago Park District venues throughout the city.
The cast for Crime Scene: Breathe Life includes Antonia Arcely, Georgann Charuhas, Justin Cornwell, Luis Crespo, Molly Hernandez, Monique Johnson, Ebony Joy, Nathaniel Swift and Sir Taylor. The production team includes Anthony Moseley (writer/director), Adam Seidel (co-writer), Genevieve Fowler (assistant director/script supervisor) Ashley Ann Woods (set), Jeremy Getz (lights), Elsa Hiltner(costumes), Matt Reich (sound), David Wooley (fight choreographer), Patrick Fries (production manager), Tara Malpass (stage manager) and Sarah Moeller (producer).
AnthonyÂ Moseley (writer/director) serves as the Artistic Director ofÂ Collaboraction, where he has produced over 50 productions, 13Â SKETCHBOOK Festivals and over 250 eventsÂ since the company’s founding in 1999. Moseley’s most recent productions include This Is Not a Cure for Cancer in 2014, and the 2013 debut of Crime Scene:Â A Chicago Anthology. In 2000 Moseley co-founded the annualÂ SKETCHBOOK Festival, which was lauded by Kerry Reid of theÂ Chicago Reader as “the premiere short play festival in the Midwest.”
Collaboraction’s Crime Scene: Breathe Life is presented with theÂ Chicago Park District with the support ofÂ Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help advance the goals of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Cultural Plan.
Collaboraction’s 15th and final SKETCHBOOK Festival will return to where it all started: the Chopin Theatre Mainstage, January 14-24, 2016, reuniting many of the Chicago artists who have participated over the years, including co-creators, Wesley Kimler (painter) and John Cabrera (tv and film producer/writer/actor.)
SKETCHBOOK will also return to its classic format of 16 short plays, visual arts and music, reuniting and further growing a diverse community of artists and audience for a grand finale bacchanal of provocative new works and immersive staging in a multi-disciplinary environment.
Collaboraction (collaboraction.org) collaborates with artists, community leaders, health professionals and citizens from throughout the city to create original theatrical experiences that push artistic boundaries and explore critical social issues with a diverse community of Chicagoans. For tickets and information, visit or collaboraction.org or call (312) 226-9633.
Collaboraction, led by Executive Director Darcy Addison, Artistic Director Anthony Moseley and a dedicated staff and board of directors, is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation via the MacArthur Foundation, and the Wicker Park & Bucktown SSA #33 Chamber of Commerce. This program is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.
Photo Caption: (top,from left)Â Crime Scene: Breathe Life features the true story of (1 & 2)Â Sir Taylor, (3) a vignette about a family bonfire celebrating the life ofÂ Hadiya Pendleton,